December’s Winter Coolness

Santa's Cycle Shop

Santa’s Cycle Shop

Santa seems to have traded his eight (nine?) tiny reindeer for hundreds of high-torque horses. A pair of holiday shoppers stop in, pondering the purchase of a yuletide ride. Don’t know if their son is more excited over the toy cars or over the custom cycles, but I’m sure either way he’s anticipating an awesome sleigh ride.

Our Suncoast Diecasters December 2015 meeting was fantastic. First and foremost, Marge returned and helped us close out the year with her wonderful presents presence. Many great trades took place. And the fellowship and holiday spirits were richly flowing, ending our year on a great high note.

Before getting to the photos, Let me inform you of the updates. First of course, Santa’s Cycle Shop has been added to our Christmas Panels page (which also features an improved video). Next, our Calendar now reflects our complete schedule for 2016. Also, unlike the last few meetings, to which I’ve brought anything but cars, I actually brought cars this time — and I can prove it. And finally, you’ll notice that a few of the items on our menu bar now have double arrows (>>); this is to more clearly indicate that those items have sub-menus which will pop out when you hover your mouse pointer over them.

Now, on to the photos!

December 2015

Our December meeting began with me RAOKing all who attended with a special Christmas gift. Which … I can’t describe to you just yet. Two long-time and cherished members were unable to attend, so I’m holding their gifts for our January (2016!) meeting. Thus, to avoid spoiling the surprise I’m refraining from telling you Faithful Readers what the gift is. So, in the meantime, please accept this silly substitute:

Mystery Gift!

Mystery Gift!

You may have noticed I refer to two Suncoast Diecasters members (not the ones above) as Original Ken and Emergency Back-up Ken. This is not only because they’re both named Ken but also because they both collect garbage trucks. EBU Ken had at our December meeting two new trucks and one he’d mentioned to me and brought in to show me. The first is this massive Jelcz 315, at 1:43 scale. Jelcz is a Polish manufacturer; this model is by IXO.

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Next is this 1:76 scale Shelvoke Dewry by Oxford. The text along the side says “Corporation of London/Cleansing Department”.

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And finally, this little fellow which Ken said is a Transformer which he couldn’t figure out how to transform. I noticed on the side the name FlyTrap, and advised Ken that this is actually a GoBot. I know this because I actually have this one myself. I told him not to worry, I would change it to robot mode after taking this shot of it in vehicle mode. Much to my embarrassment, I couldn’t remember how to change it. I got a few smaller parts loose, but I was afraid I’d break something if I kept trying to work the larger parts. So, I handed FlyTrap back to Ken in defeat. Naturally, the Internet provides plenty of photos to further humiliate me.

FlyTrap is an evil Renegade, so OF COURSE he would embarrass me in front of Ken.

FlyTrap is an evil Renegade, so OF COURSE he would embarrass me in front of Ken.

Jim bought these two well-dressed vehicles from me. These are examples of a curious — and somewhat frustrating — element of collecting: the costly losses. Aside from the fact that the models themselves are of higher quality than mainline dollar-cars, they’re also package with eye-catching backers which make great displays for those collectors who keep the packages, uh, packaged. Yet, here they amongst my for-sales, because I had eventually lost all interest in them. So, Jim gets two sweet cars for a bargain, and I get more empty space in my whatever I’m storing the rest of my cars in.

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Big Tractor Mike bought from me this Mini Cooper, Go-Cart and VW Transporter…

See? Proof.

See? Proof.

…And then later on did me the favor of buying up all my remaining cars so’s I wouldn’t have to pack them all back into my travel bin. In the insert on the left, you see the last two full columns of cars on my table, and on the right, Mike’s big beefy hand swooping in and scooping up the top end of another column.

...Maybe Mike thought my cars were all from a Star Trek episode?

…Maybe Mike thought my cars were all from a Star Trek episode?

As a Big Tractor Holiday Treat, Mike RAOK’d me with this Light Speeders edition of the Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine vehicle car toy (he just kept on typing). LS models have the cute and rather gimmicky gimmick of having a UV-reactive coating which responds to the included flux capacitor mini UV flashlight.

Time travel at the speed of light! ...I guess.

Time travel at the speed of light! …I guess.

The Light Speeders series was produced in 2012, so it’s surprising that the battery still works (just like last month). Conveniently, the UV reaction also still works. See the bluish smudge on the roof in the lower half of the photo?

You are looking at SCIENCE, boys and girls!

You are looking at SCIENCE, boys and girls!

So, do I leave it in its package, or bust it loose? Well, knowing I’ll have to change the batteries before they get mushy, I set it free. Besides, I wanted to see how the stencil worked. In the upper part of the photo below you see a scan of the stencil. In the lower part, I’ve used the Mr. Fusion logo on the roof and the Hot Wheels logo on the hood. And the results…

...A solid ''Eh''.

…A solid ”Eh”.

Ken got several holiday treasures. Here, we see (clockwise from bottom left) Racing Champions ’57 Plymouth; two Mustangs made by Fleer; two Majorette Morgans;  and a Revell ’48 Chevy.

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Next, we have (clockwise from bottom left …ish) a Road Champs Ford Model A; a Norev Minijet truck; a Norscot bulldozer; and a no-name Corvette with lights on the base.

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In this pic, Ken has (clockwise from bot– Sorry.) a Barclay car hauler “just like the one I cut my fingers on when I was a kid.” (That’s actual text from Ken.) The Barclay was available in single- and double-deck variations. I’ve found many photos online, but very little info. You are welcome to assist, gentle readers!

And it really does look like Dwight Schultz. (It's a Star Trek reference. Look it up.)

And it really does look like Dwight Schultz. (It’s a Star Trek reference. Look it up.)

And finally (clockwi– Dang! Sorry.), this ’53 Cadillac Eldorado made by High Speed, and a black pickup made to look like a Hot Wheels model but which is really a no-name butane cigarette lighter.

Oh, you don't believe it's a lighter?

Oh, you don’t believe it’s a lighter?

Boom! Butane cigarette lighter.

Now you believe me.

Now you believe me.

Oh, almost forgot: Ken also nabbed this Muky patrol cruiser from Big Tractor Mike.

Clockwise from bottom left.

Clockwise from bottom left.

From Marge, Big Tractor Mike bought this 1968 T-Bird and 1960 Thunderbird Hardtop, both by Johnny Lightning.

Thunderbirds are Go! ...-Ing into BTM's collection.

Thunderbirds are Go! …-Ing into BTM’s collection.

From Marge, I purchased this Ford Zodiac Mk IV (not Ford Prefect). I was looking it over intently, when Jim mentioned something about a “spare”. I lifted the hood, er, bonnet, and thar it is! An actually spare tire, er, tyre! And I don’t mean a tire-shaped portion of a cast engine insert, I mean an actual separately-molded plastic tire! ‘Twas the selling point for me. For its British historical aspect, its rare-enough opening hood, and especially for its thoughtfully-included spare tire, I hereby declare this Ford Zodiac Mk IV to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for December 2015!

As Jim might say, it makes a nice ''transition'' into 2016...

As Jim might say, it makes a nice ”transition” into 2016…

And now, for your (slightly delayed) Christmas Bonuses!

First, what is IMHO the best animated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This one is by Chuck Jones. Yes, that Chuck Jones, the man who brought us Bugs Bunny. This interpretation of Carol is, literally, dramatically different from typical Looney Tunes fare:

Next, another animated version. Not quite as good as Jones’ version, this one nonetheless has what I think is the creepiest interpretation of Marley’s Ghost:

Lighter fare here: Straight No Chaser’s wacky take on The Twelve Days of Christmas:

And finally, a treat to go along with those great Peanuts holiday specials (and the fantastic Peanuts movie, which I hope you’ve seen):

See you at the January (2016!) meeting!

~WM

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Sweet November! (No relation to the movie. Nope.)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day, spending time with your families and not out Black Fridaying with the massing mobs. Suncoast Diecasters‘ November meeting was great, with many great finds, buys and trade.

Speaking of great finds: You know that every month, I designate a Find of the Month. Well, I can say that we had, in a sense, two FotMs in November. I was very greatly surprised to find that dear Marge had returned from her four-year sabbatical. She did bring several trays of cars, of which other members including You Humble Webmaster didst partake, but the main joy was simply that she returned. We don’t know if she’ll continue to attend, but we were all very insistent that she at least make our December meeting.

Recall that the Saturday before our meeting was a K-mart Collector Day event, the last one of 2015. I did pretty well this time. Got a Flames-edition Hudson Hornet and ’41 Willys, the K-Day edition “sandy brown” Subaru Brat, and the literally shiny ‘n new Hi-Roller.

'Tis pretty!

‘Tis pretty!

One more thing: I probably don’t have to do this, but I apologize that I couldn’t get our November update published actually in November. I have a new job, and the darn thing is interfering with my site update time.

And now, on to the photos!

November 2015

Doug picked up this Other Blue Oval NASCAR racer and Meyers Manx, along with a slot-car controller which does not work with either of those cars but, what the heck, it’s the holidays!

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won't bother typing them.

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won’t bother typing them.

If you’ll recall, back in September Big Tractor Mike bought several Last Action Hero items from me. However, some accessories were absent, oddly not being in the same box. When I went back into my storage unit, one of the boxes I brought out just happened to have those self-same accessories, with which I RAOK’d BTM at our November meeting. As you can see below, one of the items is the Ripper’s hat. Yes, he’s a psychotic murderer; but, he’s a dapper psychotic murderer!

Hmm... That ''dapper'' line would've made a good caption....

Hmm… That ”dapper” line would’ve made a good caption….

The other three or four of you who’ve seen Last Action Hero know that it’s the story of young Danny who gets a magical movie theater ticket which allows him to enter the in-movie realm of his hero, Jack Slater. Among the accessories, I also found the Danny action figure, officially named Hook Launchin’ Danny, and his shoulder-fired grappling hook. This device is an amazingly detailed and astoundingly accurate replica of the one which Danny did not use in the movie even once ever at all. However, I do have to give props to the toy’s designers. It has an impressively powerful spring, launching the hook over two feet before friction from the line slows it to a fall. Plus, the anchor allows a child (i.e., Big Tractor Mike) to attach both ends as a type of zip-line.

Massive as the launcher is, I'm surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Massive as the launcher is, I’m surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Also back in September, BTM bought a model figure kit of Constable Odo from Deep Space Nine. I asked him if he still had it, and he said yes. So, I RAOK’d him with this publicity photo of Odo, advising him to pair it with the model if he ever decided to sell it. I got the photo at a Star Trek convention at which Rene Auberjonois was the headliner, and was shocked when I realized there was not autograph on the photo. I clearly remember standing at the autograph table, complimenting him on his performance as Odo, so I must’ve had something else autographed. By the way, the blue blur in the upper left corner is glare from the overhead lights when I took a shot of this picture.

Yes, kids, you're looking at a photograph of a photograph. ...SCIENCE!

Yes, kids, you’re looking at a photograph of a photograph. …SCIENCE!

Scott was a model guest, buying this AMT Vicki Hardtop from me.

See how I used the word ''model'' there? *That* is how you do comedy.

See how I used the word ”model” there? *That* is how you do comedy.

BTM bought this Rat Fink set from me. You might notice that the plastic blister is quite crumpled. See what happens when you try to store your collectibles, kids? Remember, always rip ’em right out of the package!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

BTM bought this literary gem from me. It’s filled with interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs and early concept sketches of the ships, costumes and the monster. As well-known as Alien is to the Nerdo-American audience, it’s fascinating to consider what the movie might have been had Scott and O’Bannon made these different choices. For example, the small, train-like line sketch near the lower right corner is what eventually became the Nostromo.

I don't know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn't used in the movie.

I don’t know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn’t used in the movie.

Once again, I brought in a bunch of Star Trek items, and once again Big Tractor Mike took them all away. Why do I bother? Er, um, what I mean is, I’m glad Mike bought these from me! He paid me a good price for them, and I didn’t have to re-pack them and take them back home again.

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

I beRAOK’d Ken with this comical car(toon) from Nickelodeon’s CatDog. Ken appreciated it because it’s a garbage truck, but he also got a kick out of its pull-string action. Pulling CatDog from the trash pile unwinds a string which winds a spring. The spring then unwinds, causing the wheels to roll and retract CatDog back into the pile. On a clear, smooth floor it can run about six feet. And, yes, I am now complicit in Ken’s mad scheme to own every garbage truck toy ever.

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The toy is a premium that was available in a Burger King Kids Club meal. It may be hard to see in the shadow, but in the upper left corner it states a copyright of 1999 (see inset in lower left corner for enhanced image). I posted this shot with the copyright for a very specific reason. It’s because…

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…Of this: the battery still works. Think about it: this is 2015; it’s copyrighted 1999; that means the toy is sixteen years oldand the battery still works! That is impressive. You may notice the mini-wheel below the front bumper. For unknown reasons, the toy’s designers put the spring-power drive to hidden wheels under the toy, and made the “cartoon” wheels merely part of the body casting. And if you’re wondering why there’s an oversize SunRacer occluding the upper right corner of the photo, it’s because your family doesn’t need to see my big ol’ thumbnail, especially not during the holidays.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

Ken asked me to photograph the treasures he bought from Marge. I was trying various arrangements when I realized there was veritable rainbow of toy cars in front of me. Thinking back to last month’s focus on composition, I carefully sought a natural chromatic flow which would involve all the cars. I might’ve been able to invert the black cars with the Mountain Dew cars, tying their green logos to the green truck, but I think this arrangement works better.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

When I started sorting through the bag of Ken’s cars, I jokingly told him I hoped he had a Mountain Dew car.

A. One. Singular. Fer cryin’ out loud.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

One of the three cars I bought from Marge. Yeah, the paint’s chipped along several edges, but the wheels are straight and clean, and the body and tampo are in relatively good shape for a toy that’s probably over thirty years old. Just wish I could I could remember the name of this model…

I'm usually good with car names, General Lee speaking...

I’m usually good with car names, General Lee speaking…

Numbah Two car from Marge: Rock Buster. This is the 1983 Malaysia version. Yeah, it’s missing its roll cage. But, its wheels too are clean and straight, and its paint and tampos are in great condition. So the what if the roll cage is missing? When would I ever again have an opportunity to obtain such a rare model, much less for such an affordable price?

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that's this car. Dang.

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that’s this car. Dang.

And the Third and Final Car I bought from Marge: Camaro Z28. You may suspect by the large blocky section between the rear wheels (lower portion of photo) that this is either a friction or pullback model. (I can’t tell which, as the mechanism doesn’t work.) Now, I generally have no interest in Camaros unless it’s a particularly special model, and I never buy frictions (or pullbacks, whichever). So why did I grab this one? Well, I looked at its base to see if it had any info at all — and I discovered it claims a scale of 1/59. I don’t recall ever seeing a scale on a friction. More importantly, it has the Zee logo. Yes, this is actually a Zylmex, not just some no-name repli-pony. I have a few models in the 1/5x range, and seeing as this is a brand-name model, I had no hesitation in buying it.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Aah, now we come to the truly interesting stuff. You may think you’re seeing (clockwise from bottom) Custom Police Cruiser, Lola GT70, Torero, Lola GT70 (with spoiler?!?), and Turbofire, but you would be so very, very wrong. For instance, that’s simply Cruiser.

They're creepy and they're kooky...

They’re creepy and they’re kooky…

These are actually Lola GT and Lamborghini Special.

...Mysterious and spooky...

…Mysterious and spooky…

And these are merely Lola GT (again, with spoiler?!?) and Super Turbo.

...They're all together ooky.

…They’re all together ooky.

Okay, okay. At this point you’re probably thinking I’ve really misunderstood my own off-site links. Cleary, these cars are Hot Wheels models, right? Well, yes and no. What they are, are Muky castings of Mattel models. How did Muky get so precise in copying the look of HW models, you ask? Simple: they were cast using actual Mattel dies. Huh? Muky was a toy manufacturer in Argentina. The company obtained in some manner dies which allowed them to produce Mattel-accurate toy cars. I say “in some manner” because there are several competing theories as to just how Muky got the dies: they were imported directly from Mattel; they were stolen from Mattel; they were reproduced from actual Mattel blueprints; etc. One particular curiosity is that Muky offered a version of the Lola GT70 with a spoiler, a variation never offered by Mattel. Regardless, it’s interesting to note that, unlike many other foreign manufacturers, there is a great amount of information about Muky available online.

Bob had these on his table at our November meeting. This is one the very best things about Suncoast Diecasters membership: discovering rare foreign models which can greatly enhance any collection. These are all now currently enhancing Big Tractor Mike’s collection, in fact. For their rarity, their great condition, their completeness with the original boxes, and especially for their intriguing mystery, I hereby very readily declare this set of Mukys to be our Find of the Month(*) for November 2015.

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

See you at the December meeting!

~WM